Andruw Jones could not have played the outfield regularly last season. His left knee was sore enough that he required regular treatments, drainings and cortisone shots to keep him in a platoon role. An offseason surgery, he believes, cleaned up the problem and he reported to camp this morning to do some early work on the field.
“It was bad,” Jones said. “I’m not going to lie to you. It didn’t affect me whatsoever (in terms of performance). It affected me that I couldn’t stay on the field the whole game or play a little more if they needed me, but it’s one of those things that I just had to deal with and try to grind it all the way through the season, and when the season was over, try and address it.”
Jones said he focused on conditioning this season. He was able to do more running after the knee was repaired, so he ran and did agility drills, focusing on those areas more than lifting. He seems roughly the same size as last season, but Jones said he’s been moving much better.
“I feel great,” he said. “I’ve been running a lot. My goal was to get back in great playing shape and be a little lighter on my legs so I can go out there and play any time they call my name.”
• After Mariano Rivera strongly hinted at retirement, Dave Robertson was asked this morning about the possibility of taking over the ninth inning next season. “I’ll believe it when I see it,” Robertson said. “He may have hinted, but you never know. He could Brett Favre us.”
• Robertson said he won’t look at this year any differently. His job is to get the ball to Rivera in the ninth, not think about whether he’s watching Rivera for the last time. Told that Joe Girardi had announced Robertson would return to the eighth-inning role this season, Robertson only smiled. “You mean I made the team?” he said.
• Jones is now wearing No. 22, with his old number 18 given to Hiroki Kuroda. Jones said he wasn’t given time to negotiate a price for giving up the number, but when the Yankees asked him about it, he said he didn’t mind. “Why not let him do it?” he said.
• Lots of hugs in the clubhouse this morning for Bill Hall, who was moving some stuff into his locker. Hall’s been around the game for a long time and has a great reputation as a clubhouse guy. He was laughing and talking with Jones, CC Sabathia, Joba Chamberlain, Kevin Long and Butch Wynegar.
• Still no locker assigned to Raul Ibanez. That deal has not been officially announced, so I imagine we won’t see his name above a locker until he’s officially with the team.
• Basically, all of the big league guys threw bullpens yesterday — plus borderline candidates like D.J. Mitchell and Cesar Cabral — and today, all of the bulpen sessions are from guys either fighting for that last spot in the pen or from guys with no legitimate shot of breaking camp with the team.
• Mariano Rivera and Rafael Soriano did not throw bullpens yesterday, and neither is scheduled to throw one today. No surprise. Those two don’t require nearly as many innings as the other guys.
• Today’s bullpen assignments:
Manny Delcarmen (to Russell Martin)
George Kontos (to Francisco Cervelli)
Mike O’Connor (to Austin Romine)
David Phelps (to Gustavo Molina)
Adam Warren (to Jose Gil)
Adam Miller (to J.R. Murphy)
Brett Marshall (to Gary Sanchez)
Ryan Pope (to Kyle Higashioka)
Clay Rapada (to Jose Gil)
Kevin Whelan (to Gustavo Molina)
Dan Burawa (to Francisco Cervelli)
Juan Cedeno (to J.R. Murphy)
Graham Stoneburner (to Gary Sanchez)
Chase Whitley (to Kyle Higashioka)
• Batting practice groups:
Group 1: David Adams, Justin Maxwell, Andruw Jones
Group 2: Francisco Cervelli, Russell Martin, Austin Romine, Gustavo Molina
Group 3: Jose Gil, Gary Sanchez, Kyle Higashioka, J.R. Murphy
Associated Press photos